For those who wish to inspect the fort at their own pace, this text, keyed to the diagram below, describes a short tour of both ruins and exhibits. By comparing the diagram and the painting of the fort as it appeared of the eve of the Civil War, you will gain a better understanding of how the Fort Sumter you see today compares to the Fort Sumter of 1861.
1. Sally Port The left-flank wall here is less than half its original height. This entryway was built in the 1870's and replaced gun embrasure.
2. Confederate Defenders Plaque. The Charleston Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, erected this plaque in 1929 to honor the Confederate defenders of Fort Sumter, 1861-1865.
3. Left-flank casemates.
The first tier of casemates (gunrooms) was surmounted by a second tier similar in appearance but considerably taller. This pattern was followed on all walls except the gorge.
4. Enlisted men's barracks ruins.
Paralleling the left-flank casemates, this three-story building had a mess hall on the first floor and sleeping quarters on the upper floors. There was another barracks for enlisted men on the right flank.
5. Officers' quarters ruins.
Three stories high, this building extended the entire length of the gorge. In it were lodgings for officers, administrative offices, storerooms, a guardhouse, and powder magazines. For an unknown reason the small arms magazine in his corner of the barracks exploded on December 11, 1863 , killing 11 and wounding 41 Confederates. The explosion also titled the arch over the entrance to the magazine.
6. Union garrison monument.
The U.S. Government erected this monument in 1932 in memory of the Union defenders during the opening bombardment of the Civil War.
7. Parade ground.
When Battery Huger was built in 1899, the remainder of the parade was filled with sand. The National Park Service removed fill 20 feet deep from this area in the 1950's.
8. Left-face casemate ruins.
The Left-face casemates were destroyed by the fore of Union guns on Morris Island, 1863-1865. Several of the projectiles still protrude from the wall. Outside the casemate ruins are the 15-inch Rodman guns, an 8-inch Columbiad, and a 10-inch mortar.
9. Right face. Union forces on Morris Island fired these eleven 100-pounder Parrott guns against
Fort Sumter. The Army moved them to the fort in the 1870's.
10. Right gorge angle. From a gun in the first-tier casemates, Capt. Abner Doubleday fired the first shot from Fort Sumter on April 12 , 1861.
11. Mountain howitzer. Confederates used light field pieces like this 12-pounder mountain howitzer to defend against a surprise landing by union forces.
12. Esplanade and wharf site. A 251/2 -foot-wide promenade ran the full length of the gorge exterior, and a 171-foot wharf extended out from the sally port. This was the original entrance to the fort
About your visit
Fort Sumter National Monument is located on Charleston Harbor and can be reached only by boat. The fort is open daily form 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between April 1 and Labor Day. At other times of the year the house vary and can be ascertained by calling (803) 883-3123. The fort is closed December 25.
Tour boats operated by by a National Park Service concessionaire leave from the city Marina on Lockwood drive just south of U.S. 17 in Charleston and from Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. For boat schedules, call (803) 722-1691 or write Fort Sumter Tours Inc.,205 King St. Suite 204 , Charleston S.C. 29401
Fort Sumter National Monument is administered by the National Park service, U.S. Department of the Interior. A superintendent whose address is 1214 Middle street, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482 is in immediate charge.
Acknowledgements Text, map, and illustration of Fort Sumter courtesy of the National Park Service, Fort Sumter National Monument. Illustration drawn by L. Kenneth Townsend. Photographs courtesy of the Library of Congress, Mathew Brady Civil War Collection.